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Creativity is certainly to the fore this month, as we discuss recent trends in a wide range of our favourite openings. Do look out too for a model technical display from Nigel Short, as well as a bolt from the blue from Vladislav Artemiev.

Download PGN of October ’17 d-Pawn Specials games

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The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 h4 d5 [A45]

We’re used to seeing White exchange knights after 2...Ne4 3 h4 d5 4 Nd2 Bf5, but he can also retain them with 5 c3!?, when 5...Nxd2 6 Qxd2 h6 7 Bf4 e6 8 Nf3 Bd6 9 e3 was seen in Matuszewski, M - Piorun, K:

The position has certain London characteristics and, while equal, offers sufficient imbalance for either side to outplay the other, as shown by the game itself.

The Trompowsky: 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 e4 [A45]

Miso Cebalo has long been a Trompowsky hero and essayed the critical 2...Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 e4!? Qxb2 8 Nd2 Qxc3 9 Bc7 in Cebalo, M - Collutiis, D:

It’s been a few months since we considered this once highly topical gambit. I’ve rounded up recent developments in the notes, while the main game focusses on the rare 9...e6!? 10 Ne2 Qa3, which White should likely meet with 11 Rc1 or 11 Nb1!? rather than the game’s 11 Rb1.

The Torre Attack: 2...e6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bh4 d6 [A46]

Holding back on ...g5 for a move after 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Bg5 h6 4 Bh4 with 4...d6 is a sensible and quite popular choice. A simple and commonsense enough set-up for White is 5 Nbd2 g5 6 Bg3 Nh5 7 e3 Bg7 8 Bd3 Nd7 9 c3:

Radjabov has played this way before with the white pieces, but after the ambitious 9...f5!? it does feel rather like the ball is in White’s court. See Artemiev, V - Morozevich, A.

The Torre Attack v KID 5 c3 h6 6 Bh4 0-0 [A48]

We’ve a couple of lines to consider after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 this month, with Nigel Short our guide to the white pieces in both cases. Firstly, we see him dealing with an early ...g5 from Black and then he gives a model demonstration of keeping control after 4 c3 0-0 5 Nbd2 h6 6 Bh4 d6 7 e4 Nc6 8 Be2:

Here 8...Nh5!? 9 d5!? is Classical Pirc-like and the use of d4 for his knights was to prove pivotal for White in Short, N - Yap, K.

The Neo-London: 2 Bf4 c5 [A45]

Meeting 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 with 2...c5 remains critical and was even seen in two games of a recent American match. After 3 d5 b5 4 a4 it seems that Black should push on with 4...b4!?, since 4...Bb7 5 c4!? might well but be an unusual and effective version of a Benko for White:

I can’t really imagine a game going 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 and then 4 Bf4 Bb7 5 a4, but that does bring play back to our position, where 5...bxc4 6 Nc3 d6 7 e4 already gave White an edge in Gorovets, A - Esserman, M.

The Jobava-Prié Attack with ...g6, 5 Be2 Bg7 6 h4 [D00]

It’s easiest to consider the trendy 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 g6 3 Nc3!? d5 4 e3 as an attempt to obtain a favourable version of a Barry Attack. As we’ll see, 4...Bg7 5 h4 posed Black some problems in an Aronian-Nepomniachtchi blitz match, but the more solid 4...c6 5 Be2 Bg7 6 h4 h5 7 Nf3 isn’t a panacea for Black:

White’s simple plan is 8 Ne5 followed by f2-f3 and further expansion, a plan he put to good use in Abasov, N - Valsecchi, A.

The Barry Attack 5 e3 Bg4 [D00]

The conventional Barry move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 is by no means dead and after 4...Bg7 some strong players have begun to experiment with 5 Nb5!?, which has a certain Jobava-Prié air. Instead, the main line remains 5 e3 when a solid sideline has long been known to be 5...Bg4 6 Be2 c6 7 h3 (7 Ne5 is somewhat more lively) 7...Bxf3 8 Bxf3 Nbd7 9 0-0 0-0:

White doesn’t have to rush e3-e4 here, but in any case Black has equalised, as we’ll see in Samusenko, M - Kamsky, G.

No doubt I’ll have to get back to the 1 d4 d5 London next month! Until then, Richard

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